The all-new iX is incredibly different in many ways and it is clearly signaling a new direction for BMW. The look and feel are unique and yes, for a lot of BMW purists, this is not what they like but its ok, the world is moving forward and so is BMW. The design is polarizing, some really like it while others don’t really care for it. Regardless of what you think of it, it creates an emotional reaction which at the end of the day, is usually a good thing. The front grill is large, no, make that huge and striking. Some really dislike this new, oversized look while others, typically a younger demographic, like it. I don’t care for it, but I also realize that if I owed this as my daily driver, I would get used to the look quickly and it would be a moot point from then on. The side profile does show its X lineage, especially with its signature Hofmeister kink located on the third window. This BMW design feature is the kink on the rear-most window edge of almost every BMW designed since the late 50’s and named for the legendary head of BMW design from 1955 to 1970, Wilhelm Hofmeister. An additional item to note are the frameless doors, this is a bit of an oddity, as these tend to be used more in a coupe or a sports car, still cool though. As the iX is fully electric, there are no exhaust tips, thus making the back end look clean and sleek. The taillights are thin and elegant, giving the iX a luxurious and modern look to it from the rear.
Inside, you are greeted with a technology driven cockpit with the prominent placement of the large screen that flows from the dash to the center infotainment area. This looks modern and clean, better than previous designs that made the placement of the screen look as if it was an afterthought. The controls and switchgear are all BMW, offering the delightful feel of the heft and detent quality of each button and knob that is legendary to this German brand. We liked the walnut finish and the jewel-like rotary knobs on the center control console that manages the volume as well as the iDrive system. These elegant crystal-like controls are also used for the seat adjustment buttons. I have always been a fan of the Mercedes Benz interiors, I found them to be luxurious and elegant, while the BMW interiors are nice, but felt a bit cold and spartan. The iX interior seems to have eliminated this gap, as I clearly felt being surrounded with a luxury feel throughout the cabin. Bravo BMW! The seats are excellent, with easy adjustments and even though I’ve heard from other journalists that they felt that the seat bottom felt flat and hard, I found it to be comfortable for my size and frame. I liked the floating center console, giving extra space as well as an under-console storage nook between the driver and front seat passenger. The infotainment is the latest generation of the BMW iDrive, so for those that have interacted with this system in the past, it will be an easy learning experience. Headroom is ample, and seating in the second row is comfortable and easy to enter and exit. There is a flat floor that makes for a roomy center seat if you happen to be three in the back. Rear cargo area is well appointed and generous in size. Second row seats do fold down thus making those Home Depot runs a breeze. The iX is all about technology, and sometimes this technology can be a bit overzealous. For example, every time I got near the car it would wake up or lock itself. A bit too eager, if you ask me. The architecture is pure high tech, using carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) in several areas such as around the doors as well as the rear hatch. It’s exposed and looks pretty cool to boot.
I enjoy driving electric vehicles, as there is that wonderful rush of instant torque which gives a reassuring feeling of security when you need to make a dash to the left or right in traffic. The throttle, or in this case, the accelerator pedal, sometimes can be a bit finicky regarding smoothness, but on the iX, it is superb. I was able to do extra slow crawls without any jumps or jerks from the drivetrain. Brakes on electric cars can give a sense of being disconnected or even act as if it is an on/off switch. Other times, you get a hint of brake action followed by a whole lot of braking, so being smooth can be a bit of a chore. On the iX, the brakes feel direct and linear, making smooth stops easy every time. Nice job BMW! You can adjust the amount of regenerative braking that the car can gives back when you come off the accelerator pedal, personally, I like to coast and manage my own regen, but others may like the single-pedal driving feature, so this is a nice way to be able to individualize the system based on personal preferences. What I liked the most was the power. The iX is simply an explosion that is almost impossible to explain. I had my sister on board and asked her, are you ready? She said yes and the catapult sensation of forward acceleration was simply breathtaking, of course, she yelled at me for driving too fast. I must warn you, this is addicting, and it also will reduce the range if you do it repeatedly. Other than the straight-line performance, the iX reminds me more of a luxury vehicle. It’s heavy, (5,700 lbs) and not as crisp in the handling as the brand’s sedans or SAV’s but still does a nice job being an all-around vehicle. The oddly shaped steering wheel seems to be mimicking the dash instrumentation, odd but easy to get used to.
BMW and all the car manufacturers are changing, this is a new era and BMW knows it needs to stand out from the rest. They have done that with the iX xDrive 50.
The verdict? Two thumbs up from me.
MSRP: $83,200.00 MSRP (As Tested): $101,570.00
Fuel Economy (Observed): 86 MPGe
Motors: Two synchronous AC, 255 & 308 HP, 269 & 295 Lb/Ft torque. Combined Power: 516 HP Combined Torque: 564 Lb/Ft, Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 105.2 kWh
Popular Options Include: Dynamic Handling Pkg. ($1,600.00), Luxury Pkg. ($1,150.00), Premium Pkg. ($4,000.00), Bowers & Wilkins Sound. ($3,400.00), Sport Pkg. (2,800.00), Active Driving Assistance Pro. ($1,700.00), Icon Adaptive LED with Laserlight ($1,000.00)
Please visit: www.bmwusa.com
*Photos furnished by BMW and the author